Ocado acquires two US robotic companies

Date : 03 November 2020

Rachel Sibson

Retail Analyst

Ocado has announced it will acquire two robotic companies based in the US, Kindred Systems and Haddington Dynamics.

Enhancing robotic picking capabilities

Ocado is acquiring Kindred Systems, and advanced AI-powered robotics company, for around $262m. Kindred designs, supplies and services sophisticated piece-picking robots for ecommerce and order fulfilment. This robotic picking solution is already live for customers within general merchandise and logistics. This presents Ocado with the opportunity to move outside grocery and seal more contracts with businesses in other sectors, such as fashion.  

Ocado is also acquiring Haddington Dynamics, an advanced research and development company, for around $25m. It specialises in the design and manufacturer of highly dextrous, lightweight, low-cost robotic arms. Ocado said the arms’ unique design and construction will unlock new opportunities of force guided robotic manipulation at a low cost. The acquisition will therefore enable Ocado to cut its Customer Fulfilment Centre (CFC) labour costs to significantly improve profitability, which will attract new partners and increase revenues from partner fees.

Accelerating the delivery of robotic picking

According to Ocado, the acquisition of these two companies will allow it to accelerate the delivery of robotic picking for its global partners. Tim Steiner, CEO of Ocado Group, said through the acquisition, “we are massively accelerating our investment and our progress in this space”. This is after Ocado have already doubled the pick and pack speeds of robotic arms at the pick-stations live in its CFC in Erith, UK.

Looking for more insight?

Retail Analysis subscribers can read our Online profitability: automated fulfilment centres report.

See more from the online profitability series at the links below:

  1. Online profitability: in-store picking
  2. Online profitability: last milers and third parties
  3. Online profitability: opportunities for retailers and manufacturers

For more information on Ocado, read our Ocado Strategic Outlook.